National nonprofit Wish Upon A Wedding organizes weddings for couples facing illness.

National nonprofit Wish Upon A Wedding organizes weddings for couples facing illness.

Kasey Skobel-Conyers plans Columbus weddings. But the owner and principal designer of Bliss Wedding & Event Design also coordinates weddings on a national level: Skobel-Conyers is the national wish coordinator for Wish Upon A Wedding, a nonprofit started in 2010 by a San Francisco wedding planner. The goal is to provide weddings free of charge for couples affected by serious illnesses.

"It started as an idea for couples facing life-threatening illnesses, to give them a day of happiness and joy with family members," Skobel-Conyers says. "The weddings are small; 50 or less people. Sometimes, they are even smaller, maybe 15 people or less at a bedside. You can tell for some it is the end of the road."

In order to grant a couple their special day, everything is donated: Wish Upon A Wedding calls on a network of vendors-named Wish Granters-to provide photography to flowers to food. The organization has 10 chapters across the United States and can plan a wedding even if there isn't a chapter in the couple's immediate area.

"We have a pretty good-size database of vendors who sign up to help," Skobel-Conyers says. "A lot of times, we have more vendors than wishes to grant."

As national wish coordinator, Skobel-Conyers is responsible for overseeing all of the wedding wish coordination throughout the country. To be considered, couples must go through an extensive online application process, which is then reviewed by Wish Upon A Wedding's national board. This year, Wish Upon A Wedding reached nearly 100 wishes granted since the organization's inception. Five of those wishes have been in Ohio, including one in Columbus.

"Oftentimes, there's no words to describe it," Skobel-Conyers says. "Being able to tell a couple we are granting their wish is such a great moment. It is such a good phone call to make and to see it all come together … they are so grateful."

Even if you're not in the wedding industry, there are ways to help: Wish Upon A Wedding accepts monetary donations via its website, and you can volunteer your time to help with the preparation or coordination of a wedding.

"We partner with other organizations that can spread the word for us," Skobel-Conyers says. "We know people can benefit, we just have to spread the word. It's such a great day to give couples and their families."